Florida mom’s alleged Grinch-like plot about falsely stolen Christmas presents is foiled


A Florida woman was recently arrested for hiding her children’s Christmas presents and then reporting them stolen, authorities say.

After the initial report, which was widely publicized in the area, local law enforcement and charities went into a scramble to provide the woman’s children with a collection of new Christmas presents.

Shana Anica Hudson, 39, stands accused of one felony count of making a false report by giving false information to police, according to Lee County Sheriff’s Office records reviewed by Law&Crime.

The sheriff’s office described the short-lived, gift-getting hoax as a “Grinch-like turn of events” and mocked the defendant in a Facebook post featuring a deputy dressed as the popular Dr. Suess holiday character and a hip-hop version of his eponymous theme song plays.

“I wanted my kids to have a decent Christmas, but now they’re not gonna have a Christmas at all because some thief came and stole our s–––,” Hudson told a local news station last month — in a clip law enforcement edited into their video. “Turn yourself in and bring us back our stuff so me and my kids can have a good Christmas.”

The initial police report was made on Nov. 19, the sheriff’s office said. That day, Hudson allegedly reported a burglary at her residence in Lehigh Acres, a census-designated place in Lee County which is part of the broader Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area.

In the report to deputies, Hudson said someone had stolen recently purchased Christmas gifts which left her children “without gifts this holiday season,” the sheriff’s office claims. Citing “the unfortunate circumstances and timing,” detectives arranged for a donation from a local American Legion Auxiliary Unit “as well as funds” from a sheriff’s office in-house charity “to surprise the mother with new gifts.”

Investigators later received a tip as to the whereabouts of the allegedly stolen Christmas presents. That information led detectives to believe that Hudson had lied about the burglary, the sheriff’s office said. Eventually, the “stolen” items were allegedly found “hidden at a family member’s residence.”

Shana Hudson appears left and center; a deputy dressed like the Grinch appears on the right

Left and center: Shana Hudson appears in a booking photo and is being led away in handcuffs; Right: A Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy dressed like the Grinch. (Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

“Hudson was transported to the Marceno Motel for her charge where this Grinch will have plenty of time to think twice about stealing Christmas,” the Facebook post reads — reiterating the Grinch motif, which is often used by the sheriff’s office during the holiday season, as well the stylized name the agency uses to refer to the county jail.

“We think it’s safe to say, everyone in this county ‘hates, double hates, loathes,’ a liar,” the Facebook post continues — paraphrasing a line from the 2000 Jim Carrey version of the children’s story that’s been adapted into various films and TV shows. “We hope the motel accommodations are much better than her heart this Christmas.”

In the video on the Facebook post, the deputy in Grinch attire dances and prances around while Hudson is led away in handcuffs. The character also uses animated hand motions to gesture to the back of a large sheriff’s office detainee transport van stylistically painted in midcentury style with the words: “Marceno Motel Courtesy Shuttle.”

A Lee County Sheriff's Office deputy dressed like the Grinch

A Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy dressed like the Grinch. (Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

The video also pans over to several wrapped and unwrapped items, which appear to be the allegedly stolen goods in question.

“This pathetic behavior is unacceptable, especially given the circumstances this holiday season,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a statement. “This woman took advantage of the system and is now paying the price for her selfish choices.”

According to court records obtained by Law&Crime, Hudson has five dependents and has been granted a public defender.

The defendant was arrested on Dec. 4 and made bond the next day. She is slated to appear in court the day after Christmas.

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